Michael Bay + Film Camera = Hell on Earth
by, 10-17-2009 at 11:42 PM (218 Views)
Pearl Harbor- Throughout the history of cinema there have been films that have been leagues ahead of there time. Take the war genre; ever seen the Japanese film Fires on the Plane? Light years ahead of its time, made in 1959 and it was the first film to ever deal with cannibalism among soldiers. How about Apocalypse Now or Come and See, whose level of intensity reached and sometimes surpassed Speilberg's Saving Private Ryan, made thirty years later. All of the above mentioned films are films that took daring steps in dealing and presenting certain issues. they were masterpieces far far ahead of there time and are still effective today. Pearl Harbor is not one of these films. As a matter of fact it is a step back in film history. It returns to truly ancient cliches about war and makes the one-dimensionality of the symbolic hero's in Eisenstein's Battleship Potemkin look like creations of Shakespeare, it's that bad. Who else but Michael Bay would make the 'bold' move of casting Ben Affleck, Josh Harnett and Kate Beckensale in a frickin' love triangle on the eve of the attack on Pearl Harbor? Who else but Michael Bay would find the inclusion of smoking and drinking to be too controversial despite the well-known historical fact that practically every single person living in 1941 drank and smoked. Who else would have such a ****ty script that one cringes every single time an actor opens his or her mouth?
Why is it that I feel like I'm watching some typical Hollywood propaganda film from the 40s'? I'm by no means criticizing films like Tora!Tora!Tora! or The Guns of the Navorone which are better films than this one by leaps and bounds, but merely pointing out the cliches that have become associated with that era of film history, to be found in a film made in 2001! Did Michael Bay ever once watch Tora! Tora! Tora! or The Guns of the Navorone while making this film? How about Apocalypse Now or Saving Private Ryan. One would think that such a prominent director such as Michael Bay, who is directing a big-budget film on a deeply tragic day in American history, that he would be familiar with what has already been accomplished. But no, he takes the easy was out and makes a film that would receive boos from audiences if released sixty years ago! This is a pitifully empty film with nothing in it but simulations of recycled war film cliches and is an insult to bold directors such a Francis Ford Coppla and bold filmmaking in general. It is an insult to the hero's of December 7, for the film spends well over two hours focusing on a stupid and predictable love triangle between three characters, with the remaining hour spend on special effects and explosions.
I suppose the most depressing thing about this whole film is the fact that audiences weren't outraged when it came out. Why didn't anybody yell out in the theater “I am smarter than this!” and walk out to see the redux restoration version of Apocalypse Now playing the same time Pearl Harbor came out. But no, despite the fact that it was lauded by critics, it made $499 million at the box office.
I once asked my sister what her favorite movie was and she answered Pearl Harbor. About a week before we had watched Apocalypse Now and she had walked out within thirty minutes, complaining that it was too boring and long, and plus it was old. Okay yes, Apocalypse Now was made in 1979, if you call that old, then I'm fine with that. It is a long movie, but probably only a little longer then the agony of Pearl Harbor. As for boring. . . .I just can't comprehend. Apocalypse Now is probably the most intense and disturbing war films I've ever seen. As its narrative progresses, you further and further feel like that you are falling into madness along with its characters. Pearl Harbor isn't worth a second of Apocalypse Now. 1.5/10
Transformers 2 - And if that couldn't get any worse, I must recall the hellish experience of seeing Transformers 2 in the theater with my sister. If there is any reason why you should see this movie, it should only be for an extremely altruistic reason, and even then you'll feel disgusted with yourself.
My step-sister was not feeling good at all (her boyfriend had just dumped her) and she wanted to get out of the house and go watch some mindless movie (as she admitted herself). I had remembered how much I hated the first one, but felt too much of an obligation to make her feel better.
So we went into the theater. I had gotten a big Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, which was probably the highlight of the entire experience and is the only thing I wish to remember.
The lights went down and the projector started. Immediately there was noise, and this noise progressed more and more to unbearable measures as the film went on for two-and a half hours.
It was the most meaningless use of the film camera I had ever seen. It was an insult to the special effects people who had spend hours creating every single frame of CGI motion, only for them to be set to a nonsense story with nonsense characters and nonsense robots.
I remember looking around the theater (with a pounding headache) and counting how many people had yet walked out. None had. There were quite a few ten year olds who seemed to be enjoying it immensely, and then I realized that this film was a ten year olds dream. I myself remember being eight or nine and playing with Legos, spinning together outrageously epic plots with outrageously extreme special effects. I suppose I can remember creating robot battles similar to what one sees in Transformers when I was eight. But that's what Legos are for, and, why not just make Transformers a PG rated kids film? But instead we get a violent two-and a half hour commercial with racist undertones and tons of sexual innuendo in the Megan Fox character, who is misogynistically portrayed by Bay as a sex object and nothing else, even though Fox is such a bad actress that there is not much that can be done with her as an actress.
Upon leaving the theater, after sitting through it for the full two-and a half hours I had felt like a good person, but I felt utterly miserable for having wasted two hours of my life, along with twenty other people, when we all could've gotten together and found ways to cure world hunger, or cancer or teach poor kids how to read, or just walk out and see a better film. 0/10
Postscript: By the way, I remember walking out of the theater and thinking that “this must be one of the worst films ever made” Yet after reading a comment made by Bay in response to all of the negative criticism of his film, he said “It's easy to go shoot an art movie in a winery in the South of France. But people have no idea how hard it is to create something like Transformers.” Oh boo-hoo Michael Bay. I am not convinced of the “easiness” of shooting an art film, since Bay has not ever produced something even close to one-tenth the value of the works of Michelangelo Antonini or Jean-Luc Godard. But that aside, I must say, that this quote sums up all that Michael Bay's films represents. After reading this, I came to the conclusion that Transformers represents everything that is wrong with cinema today, and that it is the mother of all bad films, and like a cancer, it is killing the art of cinema.